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The Basement

He started out on the fifth floor. It was spacious, bright, and one of the only private rooms in the hostel. At first, it was a blessing from God. Then he realized that it was an obstacle to mission. 

Since coming to Ukraine one year ago, this Multiply (formerly MB Mission) worker from Colombia had struggled to learn the language and culture and to form relationships. Moving into a communal hostel in the city of Zaporozhye had been intentional, but it was a difficult and uncomfortable living arrangement, even on the fifth floor. He chose to view the hostel as his heavenly Father’s house, a house with many rooms. Rooms full of people who needed Jesus. 

His daily routine included visits with venders, street musicians, store owners, and the staff and tenants of the hostel, but he was not satisfied. He wanted more. His passion for mission could not, in the end, allow him to enjoy the privileged solitude of the fifth floor. So he moved into the basement.

The basement was set up with ten beds, and zero privacy. His bunkmates included  labourers from the market, and a couple with two small children. Dima, Ruslan, Andrei, Loha - he socialized with them all, invited them to church, handed out literature that he himself could barely read and prayed to be salt and light. At times he felt discouraged. So many transients passed through the house, he wondered whether he had any impact on their lives at all. 

Then he met Nastia. The first time he saw this young woman, she was dead drunk, and his initial impulse was to avoid her. Two days later he met her again, in the lobby. This time she was sober. The following morning their paths crossed a third time, in the communal kitchen. Clearly God was orchestrating this, so over breakfast he shared the Gospel, and when he spoke of the Father’s love, Nastia wept.

“My father loved me,” she grieved, looking back on her life. They prayed together, and then he left to get more Bible literature. He was gone only a moment, but when he returned, she was gone. One of the men told him that Nastia had gathered up her belongings in almost frantic haste and run out of the hostel, saying, “I need to go home, to my father’s house!” With a full heart, VR returned to his room in the basement, wondering who God would send him next. 

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